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View Full Version : [General Article] Taqleed (Blind following) - Overview

Ansar Al-'Adl
04-26-2005, 09:22 PM
Linguistically, Taqleed means: Placing something around the neck, which encircles the neck. Technically it means: Following he whose sayings is not a proof (hujjah).

Exlcuded from our saying, "following he whose saying is not a proof" is: following the Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW)

"Indeed the people of Truth and the Sunnah do not follow anyone [unconditionally] except the messenger of Allaah SAW, the one who does not speak from his desires - it is only revelation revealed to him." [by Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah, Majmoo\'ah al-Fataawaa, vol 3, page 216, Daar Ibn Hazm Print, Trans: Aboo 'Abdis-Salaam]

O you who believe! Obey Allâh and obey the Messenger (Muhammad SAW), and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allâh and His Messenger (SAW), if you believe in Allâh and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination. [The Noble Qur'ân 4:59]

Abu Haneefah (d. 150H) (rahimahullaah) said: "Adhere to the athar (narration) and the tareeqah (way) of the Salaf (Pious Predecessors) and beware of newly invented matters for all of it is innovation" [Reported by As-Suyootee in Sawn al Mantaq wal-Kalaam p.32]

Ibn al-Qayyim said, " And it is as Abu Umar (ibn Abdul Barr) said: Indeed, the people do not differ about the fact that knowledge is the realisation attained from proof, but without proof, it is only taqleed."

Ibn al-Qayyim said, "There are three sayings about the permissibility of giving fatwaa based upon taqleed:

1) It is not permissible to give fatwaa based upon taqleed, because it is not knowledge; since issuing a fatwaa without knowledge is forbidden. This is the saying of most of the Hanbalee scholars and the majority of the Shaafi'iyyah.

2) That it is permissible with regards to himself, but it is not permissible to give a fatwaa to others based upon taqleed.

3) That it is permissible when there is a need for it, and there is no mujtahid scholar. And this is the most correct of the sayings and is what is acted upon."

Imam Ibn Katheer, rahimahullaah, said: "And what is apparent, and Allaah knows best, is that it is general for all those who are in authority (oolul-amr),from the rulers and the scholars."

Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said: "This is why those who are in authority are of two groups: the scholars and the rulers. If they are upright, the people will be upright; if they are corrupt, the people will be corrupt."

"It should be realised that the rulers are to be obeyed if they command what knowledge necessitates. So obedience to them follows on from obedience to the scholars. Indeed obedience is only in that which is good and that which is obligated by knowledge. So just as obedience to the scholars follows on from obedience to the Messenger, then obedience to the rulers follows on from obedience to the scholars." [Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim, r.a.]

The Problem : "Blind" following refers to following a person (including self) when the instructions are clearly not in accordance with Qur'ân and Sunnah. To do so is a form of shirk, because at its core is a denial of a part of the Revelation, and to deny a single ayat of Revelation is to deny it all.

Many muslims treat the noble Imaams (Imaam Shafii, Imaam Malik, etc.) as though their words are protected from error. For some people, the words of an Imaam are taken as "gospel" and followed exclusively (as if it were revelation). Even if a verse from the Qur'ân or an authentic saying of the Messenger is brought as an argument against what their chosen Imaam said, their followers forsake what Allah or the Messenger, saaws, said and follow their Imaams. This dangerous position leads to blind taqleed (following) of humans at the expense of revelation.

One such example of this is that Imaam Malik did not raise his hands during the takbeer because they had been crippled to where he could not raise them as should be done in the salah. Muslims who choose to blindly follow Imaam Malik will not raise their hands during the takbeer, even though their is clear proof to do so. There are examples too numerous to list here, examples of senseless adherence to the ways or teachings of men, teachings that are contradictory to the proof.

Some muslims blindly follow modern leaders (such as W. Deen Mohammed, the Tableegh, or the highly deviating Imaam at the local masjid), even when the man calls the people to actions and beliefs that are clearly opposing Qur'ân and Sunnah. Once again, this is an act of elevating a person's words over the Speech of Allah (i.e. the Qur'ân), if at any time we reject the clear revelation and instead act upon or embrace the contrary teachings of a person.

Just like we are to obey our parents unless they call us to the haram (prohibited), we may follow the guidance of men unless they call us to error.

This condition of ignorance and blind following was given by Revelation from Allah to the Messenger, Muhammed, saaws, who said: Verily, Allah does not take away knowledge by snatching it from the people, but (this is done) by causing (the death) of the scholars until none of them is left alive. People would then appoint ignorant leaders for themselves who would be consulted in matters of religion and they would give Fatawas without knowledge, falling into misguidance and misguiding others. [Muslim].

Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, rahimahullaah, said: "And the four Imaams, may Allaah be pleased with them, all forbade the people from blindly following them in all that they may say; and this was an obligation upon them [to do]."

Abu Haneefah (rahimahullaah) said: "When a hadeeth is found to be saheeh, then that is my madhhab." [Ibn 'Aabideen in al-Haashiyah (1/63) and in his essay Rasm al-Mufti (1/4 from the Compilation of the Essays of Ibn 'Aabideen), Shaikh Saalih al-Fulaani in Eeqaaz al-Himam (p. 62) and others. Ibn \'Aabideen quoted from Sharh al-Hidaayah by Ibn al-Shahnah al-Kabeer, the teacher of Ibn al-Humaam]

"It is haram (prohibited) for someone who does not know my evidence to give fatwaa (verdicts) on the basis of my words." Another narration adds, "... for we are mortals: we say one thing one day, and take it back the next day." [Ibn \'Abdul Barr in Al-Intiqaa\' fi Fadaa\'il ath-Thalaathah al-A\'immah al-Fuqahaa\' (p. 145), Ibn al-Qayyim in I\'laam al-Mooqi\'een (2/309), Ibn \'Aabideen in his Footnoes on Al-Bahr ar-Raa\'iq (6/293) and in Rasm al-Mufti (pp. 29, 32) & Sha\'raani in Al-Meezaan (1/55) with the second narration. Similar narrations exist on the authority of Abu Haneefah\'s companions Zafar, Abu Yoosuf and \'Aafiyah ibn Yazeed; cf. Eeqaaz (p. 52). Ibn al-Qayyim firmly certified its authenticity on the authority of Abu Yoosuf in I\'laam al-Mooqi\'een (2/344).]

"When I say something contradicting the Book of Allah the Exalted or what is narrated from the Messenger (saaws), then ignore my saying." [Al-Fulaani in Eeqaaz al-Himam (p. 50), tracing it to Imaam Muhammad and then saying, \"This does not apply to the mujtahid, for he is not bound to their views anyway, but it applies to the muqallid.\"]

Imaam Maalik ibn Anas (rahimahullaah) said: "Truly I am only a mortal: I make mistakes (sometimes) and I am correct (sometimes). Therefore, look into my opinions: all that agrees with the Book and the Sunnah, accept it; and all that does not agree with the Book and the Sunnah, ignore it." [Ibn \'Abdul Barr in Jaami\' Bayaan al-\'Ilm (2/32), Ibn Hazm, quoting from the former in Usool al-Ahkaam (6/149), and similarly Al-Fulaani (p. 72)]

Imaam Shaafi'i (rahimahullaah) said: "The sunnahs of the Messenger of Allah (saaws) reach, as well as escape from, every one of us. So whenever I voice my opinion, or formulate a principle, where something contrary to my view exists on the authority of the Messenger of Allah (saaws), then the correct view is what the Messenger of Allah (saaws) has said, and it is my view." [Related by Haakim with a continuous sanad up to Shaafi\'i, as in Taareekh Dimashq of Ibn \'Asaakir (15/1/3), I\'laam al-Mooqi\'een (2/363, 364) & Eeqaaz (p. 100).]

The Solution: The messenger of Allah (saaws) said: O mankind, I am leaving two things with you, if you cling to them you will never go astray. The Book of Allah and my way of life. [Al-Haakim and Al-Baihaqi].

The Muslim who does not want to go astray refers all matters to the Qur'ân and Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammed

This does not mean he should be confrontational, ignore, or find no use for the people of knowledge - because he SHOULD refer to such people. Note emphasis on the word REFER, meaning you use the people of knowledge as a RESOURCE and GUIDE - not as a source of Revelation.

Be humble when approaching a person of knowledge, and recognize that the people of knowledge, when acting upon what they know, are of the most humble people. Not all humble people are knowledgeable; however, a person of knowledge should be humble, that is, if he follows the knowledge he has.

When wanting further explanation, the muslim should refer to the writings of as-Salaf as-Saalih. Make decisions based on the proofs in the Qur'ân and Sunnah, accepting the explanations given by as-Salaf as-Saalih as far superior to others.

The people choose their leaders; the leader or Imam is not self-appointed. So choose your leader / spiritual guide carefully and follow obediently, except when Qur'ân and authenticated Sunnah indicates otherwise.

Muslims should be obedient to their Imam except when given evidence that is clearly contrary to the Imam's guidance on any particular matter. This evidence should be from the Qur'ân and/or Sunnah, as explained by the righteous Islamic scholars of the first three generations of righteous Muslims after the revelation of the Qur'ân.

Sharh Usool ul-I'tiqaad (1/9) - Imaam al-Laalikaa'ee (d. 418H) (rh) said: "That which is most obligatory upon a Muslim: Knowledge of the aspects of the creed of the Religion and what Allaah has obligated upon His Servants including the understanding of His Tawheed and of His Attributes, and believing in His Messengers with evidences and with certainty. And arriving at [all of] that and seeking evidences for them with clear proofs.

And among the mightiest of statements and clearest of proofs and understandings is:

The Book of Allaah, the Manifest Truth

Then the saying of the Messenger of Allaah

And of his Companions, the chosen, pious ones

Then that which the Salaf us-Saalih were unanimously agreed upon

The holding fast to all of that and remaining firm upon it till the Day of Judgement

Then turning away from the innovations and from listening to them - from amongst those things the astray people have invented"

The Noble Qur'ân - An-Nûr 24:63 Make not the calling of the Messenger (Muhammad

) among you as your calling of one another. Allâh knows those of you who slip away under shelter (of some excuse without taking the permission to leave, from the Messenger SAW). And let those who oppose the Messenger's (Muhammad

) commandment (i.e. his Sunnah legal ways, orders, acts of worship, statements, etc.) (among the sects) beware, lest some Fitnah (disbelief, trials, afflictions, earthquakes, killing, overpowered by a tyrant, etc.) befall them or a painful torment be inflicted on them.

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09-17-2005, 02:35 PM
Ijtihaad and Taqleed
by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Sâlih al-'Uthaymîn
(d. 1421 AH / n/a CE)

The Shaykh, may Allaah preserve him, says in his 'Al-Usool min 'Ilimil Usool' (pp97-104),
'Definition of Ijtihaad:
linguistically ijtihaad means: to expend efforts in order to reach some difficult matter. Technically it means: expending efforts to arrive at a Sharee'ah ruling. And the Mujtahid is the one who expends efforts for this purpose.
Conditions for Ijtihaad:
Being a mujtahid has conditions, from them:-
That he knows the Sharee'ah proofs which he needs in his ijtihaad - such as the verses and ahaadeeth pertaining to rulings.
That he knows what relates to the authenticty or weakness of a hadeeth, such as having knowledge of the isnaad and it's narrators and other than this.
That he knows the abrogated and the abrogating, and the places where there is ijmaa - such that he does not give a ruling according to something that has been abrogated, nor give a ruling that opposes the (authentically related) ijmaa.
That he knows from the proofs that which causes the rulings to vary, such as takhsees (particularisation), or taqyeed (restriction), or it's like. So he does not give a judgement which is contrary to this.
That he knows the Arabic language and usul al-fiqh, and what relates to the meanings and indications of particular wordings - such as the general, the particular, the absolute and unrestricted, the restricted, the unclarified, and the clarified, and it's like - in order that he gives rulings in accordance with what this demands.
That he has the ability to extract rulings from the evidences.
And ijtihaad may be split up, such that it may be undertaken in one particular branch of knowledge, or in one particular issue.

What is essential for the Mujtahid:
It is essential that the Mujtahid strives in expending his efforts to arrive at knowledge of the truth, and to give rulings in accordance to what is apparent to him. If he is correct, then he has two rewards: one for his ijtihaad, and the other for arriving at the truth - since arriving at the truth means that it is manifested and acted upon. If, however, he is mistaken, then he has a single reward, and his error is forgiven him, as he (SAW) said, "when a judge judges and strives and is correct, then he has two rewards. If he judges and strives and errs, then he has a single reward." If the ruling is not clear to him, then he must withold - and in such a case, taqleed is permissible for him, due to necessity.
Taqleed - it's definition:
Linguistically, taqleed means: Placing something around the neck, which encircles the neck. Technically it means: Following he whose sayings is not a proof (hujjah).
Exlcuded from our saying, "following he whose saying is not a proof" is: following the Prophet (SAW), following the ijmaa and also following the saying of the sahaabee - for those who consider the saying of a single sahaabee to be a proof. So following any of these is not called taqleed, since there is a proof for doing so. However this type of following is sometimes referred to as taqleed in a very metaphorical and loose sense.

The Place of Taqleed:
Taqleed is done in two cases:
1) when the muqallid is an 'aamee (a common person) who does not have the ability to aquire knowledge of the sharee'ah ruling by himself. So taqleed is obligatory upon him, due to the saying of Allaah - The Most High, "ask the people of knowledge if you do not know." So he does taqleed of one whom he considers to be a person of knowledge and piety. If there are two such people who are equal in his view, then he chooses any one of them.

2) The mujtahid when he encounters a new situation, for which an immediate solution is required, but it is not possible for him to research into this matter. So in this case he is permitted to perform taqleed.

Some stipulate as a condition for the permissibility of taqleed, that the matter is not from the fundamentals of the deen - those matters which must be held as aqueedah - since matters of aqueedah require certainty, whereas taqleed only amounts to dhann (knowledge which is not certain).

However the correct saying in this matter is that this is not a condition, due to the generality of his - the Most High's - saying, "ask the people of knowledge if you do not know." And this verse is in the context of affirming the Messengership - which is from the fundamentals of the deen. And also because the common person cannot acquire knowledge of the sharee'ah rulings with it's proofs by himself. So if he is unable to arrive at the truth by himself, then nothing remains for him except taqleed, due to the saying of Allaah - the most High, "fear Allaah as much as you can"

Types of Taqleed:
Taqleed is of two types: general and specific.
1) The general type: that a person sticks to a particular madhhab (school of thought), accepting it's concessions and non-concessions, in all matters of the deen.

The scholars have differed about such a state. So some amongst the late-comers have reported that this is obligatory upon him, due to his inability to perform ijtihaad. Others report it as being forbidden for him, due to its being a case of necessitating unrestricted following of other than the Prophet (SAW).

Shaykh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyyah said,

"The saying that it is obligatory, causes obedience to other than the Prophet (SAW) in every matter of command and pohibition, and this is in opposition to the ijmaa'. And the allowance of it contains what it contains."

He (RH) also said,

"He who sticks to a particular madhhab, and then acts in opposition to it - without making taqleed of another scholar who has given him a ruling, nor does he use an evidence as a proof which necessitates acting in opposition to his madhhab, nor does he have an acceptable Sharee'ah excuse which allows him to do what he has done - then such a person is a follower of his desires, doing what is haraam - without a Sharee'ah excuse - and this is evil and sinful.
However, if there becomes clear to him, something which necessitates preference to one saying to another - either due to detailed proofs if he knows and understands them, or because he holds one of two people to be more knowledgeable about this matter and having more piety with regards to what he says - and so he leaves the saying of that one for the saying of the other one, then this is permissible, rather, it is obligatory. And there is a text from Imaam Ahmad about this."

2) The particular type of taqleed is that he accepts a saying about a particular matter. This is permissible if such a person is unable to arrive at knowledge of the by ijtihaad - whether he is unable to in reality, or he is able, but with great difficulty.

Fatwaa of a Muqallid:
Allaah - the Most High - said, "Ask the people of knowledge if you do not know." And the Ahludh Dhikr are the Ahlul Ilm (the people of knowledge), whereas the muqallid is not a person of knowledge who is followed - rather he himself is a follower of someone else.
Ibn Abdul Barr (d.463) and others have said,

"the people are united in ijmaa that the muqallid is not counted as being from the Ahlul Ilm, and that knowledge is the realisation of guidance along with it's proof."

Ibn al-Qayyim said,

" And it is as Abu Umar (ibn Abdul Barr) said: Indeed, the people do not differ about the fact that knowledge is the realisation attained from proof, but without proof, it is only taqleed."

Ibn al-Qayyim then quotes,

"There are three sayings about the permissibility of giving fatwaa based upon taqleed:
1) It is not permissible to give fatwaa based upon taqleed, because it is not knowledge; since issuing a fatwaa without knowledge is forbidden. This is the saying of most of the Hanbalee scholars and the majority of the Shaafi'iyyah.

2) That it is permissible with regards to himself, but it is not permissible to give a fatwaa to others based upon taqleed.

3) That it is permissible when there is a need for it, and there is no mujtahid scholar. And this is the most correct of the sayings and is what is acted upon."'

Shaykh al-Albaanee says in his, 'The Hadeeth is a Proof in itself' after mentioning the statements of the Imaams on Taqleed as found in the introduction to 'The Prophets Prayer Described' brings a chapter heading, "Taqleed for whoever cannot search for proofs by himself" (pp94+),

'"Some may ask: "Not everyone has the ability to be a Person of Knowledge, as explained before?" We say: yes indeed. No one disputes this fact. Allaah said, "So ask the People of Knowledge if you do not know." (16:43) and, "ask the knowledgeable about it" (25:59). The Prophet (SAW), for those who issued fatwa without knowledge: "Could not they have asked if they did know? The cure for the confused one is to ask." However, we did not mention all of the above evidence to show who can and who cannot be a scholar. Our research is with regards to those few who are considered to be People of Knowledge....Taqleed is upon the common person and the ignorant one. The scholars, who can search for the evidence, are excluded from this group. They are the ones whose responsibility is not to do Taqleed. Rather, their responsibility is to perform Ijtihaad. The following saying by ibn Abdul Barr explains this matter further, "All these rules are for the common folk, they are the ones who have to perform Taqleed of their scholars when needed. They are not capable of understanding or comprehending evidence or knowledge. Knowledge has grades, one cannot attain the topmost grade unless he goes via the base...Scholars do not differ with regards to the common folk having to follow their scholars..." However, I believe that to generalise about the common folk by saying that they all must perform taqleed is invalid. Taqleed is to follow others without evidence. Many intelligent people can clearly understand evidence if it is presented to them. Who can deny that a common person can understand the evidence contained in the hadeeth, "Tayammum is one strike (of the hands on the dust) for the face and hands"? Even people lacking intelligence can understand this hadeeth. Therefore, the truth is that we must say that Taqleed is allowed for whosoever cannot search for or understand the evidence, ibn al-Qayyim also was of this opinion. Even scholars are forced to do Taqleed sometimes, when a scholar cannot find a text from Allaah or His Messenger, but only sayings of more knowledgeable scholars."


1. He is Abu Abdullaah Muhammad ibn Saalih ibn Muhammad ibn Uthaymeen al-Wuhaibee at-Tameemee, born 27th Ramadaan 1347 in 'Unayzah, Saudia Arabia. He memorised the Qur'aan during early life and then studied under two of the students of Shaykh Abd ar-Rahmaan as-Sa'dee, later on going to study under the Shaykh himself. He studied Tawheed, tafseer, hadeeth, fiqh, usul al-fiqh, al-faraa'id (inheritance), nahw (grammar) and sarf (morphology). Then he studied under the scholar Abd al-Azeez bin Baaz. He is one of the foremost shaykhs of Ahlus Sunnah today, and has written around 40 books.
2. 'Jaami Bayaan al-Ilm' (2/119). And Allaamah al-Fulaanee says in his, 'Eeqaadh Hamam Oolil Absaar' (pg. 25), "....ilm refers only to what is in Allaah's Book, and the Sunnah of Allaah's Messenger (SAW) and the ijmaa and what is gained by qiyaas upon these sources....It does not refer to what the muqallids and the people of party spirit regard as ilm - in thei restricting ilm to refer to that which is written in the books of the opinions of the madhaahib - even though some of that clashes with the Prophetic ahaadeeth.."
ash-Shaatibee says in 'al-Muwaafiqaat' (4/293), "the muqallid is not an aalim." And it occurs in the books of the Hanafees that the ignorant one is not allowed to take the post of Qadee (judge). And ibn al-Hammaan explains the ignorant one to be the Muqallid in 'Fath al-Qadeer' (5/456) and likewise ibn Wazeer in 'Rawdah al-Baasim' (1/36).

3. 'I'laam al-Muwaqqi'een' (1/7)

4. Imaaam ash-Shafi'ee said in his 'Risalah' (pg.39): "It is not permissible for anyone to ever to say about anything that it is halaal or haraam except upon knowledge. And this knowledge is what is related in the Book, or the Sunnah or Ijmaa or Qiyaas."

5. pp's 83+ of the English translation by The Daar of Islamic Heritage. This whole section is important and should be read thoroughly as it clears up many misconceptions and doubts.

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